A few of the blogs I read of other writers have some wonderful writing exercises. One of them is a story in 20 lines or less. I believe there is a theme, but my writing never fits into a theme. I start writing and never know what is going to happen until it does. I present here two stories for your enjoyment.
The man walked up the thirteen stairs, dragging his leaden feet.
He reached the top of the stairs and looked into the hallway cautiously.
He tiptoed toward the door, slow and careful, doing his best to avoid squeaking floor boards, unsuccessfully.
He reached the door, and leaning heavily upon it, he struggled with the key in his pocket.
The damn thing was caught on a thread at the bottom of his pocket.
With one last tug, it came free with a ripping sound.
He lifted the key to the keyhole with a shaking hand.
He inserted the key.
He heard the pop of lock opening.
Slowly he opened the door, dread deep in his heart.
Lights went on and he was momentarily blinded.
Just as he’d feared, they had a birthday party planned.
The second one is a story in 22 lines. I hope you don’t mind I bent the rules just a bit.
Living on the Edge
The naked man opened the refrigerator and peered inside. Olives, milk, bacon, mayonnaise, and various other condiments lined one shelf. Margarine, a loaf of white bread, and a bloated container of orange juice occupied another. Eggs, cheese and a six-pack of beer with three empty sockets sat among sealed containers holding the remnants of forgotten meals. The naked man brought out the eggs, bacon and margarine and set them on the counter. He opened the vegetable drawer. Three whip-like carrots, two heads of boldly flowering broccoli, an onion, and a potato stared back at him. He took out the onion and the seeing-eye potato and placed them carefully among his other items.
Taking up a once-sharp knife he carefully cut the mold from the sharp cheddar and set to work peeling and chopping his vegetables. He opened the bacon and laid the little strips of pink and white meat side by side, like little meat couples in one of two ancient iron skillets on the stove. He put margarine, potato and onion in the other and flipped on the burners, adding three eggs almost as an afterthought. He hovered expectantly with fork and spoon at the ready.
The man breathed the air expectantly, his naked, hairy belly just inches from the spitting, hissing pans. Contemplating the notion that one should never cook naked, he turned over the bacon, which had lost its youthful pink shade and had begun to crisp at the edges, and stirred his sizzling potato and onion, now turning nut-brown, flipped his frying eggs, breaking all three yolks in the process.
He had done it—not a hair on his sagging chest singed—and vowed to continue living his life on the edge. Perhaps tomorrow he would run with scissors.